Why were so many big 80's guys like Luke and others playing EMG's?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by james..., Jun 25, 2019.

  1. sahhas

    sahhas Supporting Member

    Messages:
    12,541
    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2007
    Location:
    Imaginary land....
    still remember seeing David Gilmour on SNL back in '87:
    [​IMG]
    I thought his M steinberger with the 3 EMG single coil pu's sounded awesome!
    and of course this is one of the guitars he sold at auction last week....
     
    guitrr, scolfax and Dr Bonkers like this.
  2. Gripp

    Gripp Member

    Messages:
    13
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2008
    Location:
    Luleå, Sweden
    I’ve actually gone back to my roots and recently installed EMG’s on almost every guitar I own. Yes they do still sound and feel good to me.

    Sure, they’re in a way fundamentally different to passives. But let’s not forget that the various EMG models also sound and feel different. My EMG TX pickups are not like my Crossroads set, are not like my 89X’s and so on. Yes, my two guitars equipped with 89X’s sound very much different too. You can very clearly hear and feel the different bridges, woods etc.

    The EMG singles especially aren’t really that hot either. Pickup height does matter.
    I seem to like certain qualities that a bar magnet brings. I get that feeling from a set of Bardens too.

    One thing that has drawn me back to EMG’s is that they do drive effects well and have that clarity due to how they are designed and to the low impedance output. I wouldn’t have gone back full EMG if it wasn’t for the active tone control, VLPF, though. It is included with the X-series. It doesn’t respond like a passive tone control but is very useful, and the tonal change doesn’t depend on what cable I’m using or what I’m plugged in to. Oh, the SPC sometimes just plain rules too.

    Negatives are that the preamps do hiss a bit. It is hard to make them work with some old school fuzzes but I’m getting there. Have tried Jack Orman’s pickup simulator and am currently working on an even more simple solution to that problem. Ebowing is different too, but I’m kind of leaning towards that it’s mostly a matter of technique.

    Try them, you might be surprised.
     
    guitrr likes this.
  3. JPH118

    JPH118 Member

    Messages:
    1,536
    Joined:
    May 29, 2012
    Location:
    NJ/NYC
    They were the hot new thing... Low noise, incredible signal strength using standard instrument cable compared to Hi-Z passive pickups... Les Paul was pushing active pickups from the 70s on, and used them for the rest of his career. Lots of jazz guys still dig them, whether Bartolini, Barden, EMG, Alembic, etc.

    For the metal crowd, an equally strong (hot) passive pickup would’ve been incredibly noisier, and sacrificed the crystal-clean tone many of those guys also like... EMG gave them something that worked well for ultra high gain and super clean equally.
     
    Dr Bonkers likes this.
  4. slayerbear17

    slayerbear17 Member

    Messages:
    1,992
    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2010
    Location:
    YYC
    I tried to force myself to like emg's 81/85's. I had two Charvels with them fitted. Sold them and decided to stick with my Seymour Duncan Passive Black Winters, way more dynamics in my opinion.
     
  5. LeftyGtrPlr

    LeftyGtrPlr Member

    Messages:
    354
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2018
    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    I tried an EMG in my Gibson Flying V for similar reasons. I've since gone to a Duncan JB, but still not thrilled with the output. I tried the 57 Classic/Classic + in my Les Paul, but it just didn't seem to have much balls. I play rock, classic rock, a little metal, etc. What do you play?
     
  6. Jedi

    Jedi Member

    Messages:
    1,312
    Joined:
    Aug 4, 2008
    Location:
    Somewhere in America
    I had four main guitars in the late 80's and 90's all of them were equipped with EMGs. My main guitars were an early Fender 62 RI Strat that had the "SA" single coil set w/SPC, My Fender Tele Custom had their Bridge/Neck "T" set, my LP had an "81" in the bridge and my Parts SuperStrat w/Kubicki neck had a "81" humbucker bridge and 2 "SA"s single coils. They used to roar thru my modded '79 JMP Marshalls. At the time, I thought they sounded great, no noise and enough gain that your tone was fairly un-affected going through pedals, etc. In listening back to recordings from back then the tones still hold up, but maybe a bit sterile. However, at the time I used to get asked all the time about my rig and tone. As much of a fan that I was back then, I have not used them for the last 20 years. I see that EMG has made many new models and designs over the years, but now I am pretty much in the regular single coil Strat, Tele & PAF camp. YMMV
     
    Last edited: Jun 26, 2019
  7. egregion

    egregion Member

    Messages:
    439
    Joined:
    May 4, 2017
    "natural tone of the guitar"

    nonsense like this always gives me quite a few hearty keks

    how can you measure "the natural tone" of any electric guitar? unless you play it unplugged, in which case it sounds like garbage, so then maybe it's a good thing EMGs wash that tone out.
     
    scolfax and willyboy like this.
  8. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

    Messages:
    11,582
    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2004
    Location:
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I play a little bit of everything except jazz. Currently I have Suhr Doug Aldrich pickups in all my Les Pauls and I get plenty of strength as well as PAF-like warmth. That's what the EMGs lack for me in a clearer signal path - no warmth, and a little sterile.
     
  9. xmd5a

    xmd5a Member

    Messages:
    917
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    Allegedly.

    They don't have the resonant cut off that is characteristic of passive pickups. That's essentially what Fishman "fixed" about it, they took a low impedance pickup and mimicked the response curve of a high impedance pickup. What was the point of that? I don't know.
     
  10. xmd5a

    xmd5a Member

    Messages:
    917
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    An amplifier's output is limited by its supply voltage. Since a passive pickup has no amplifier, there is no such limit. If you snap at the strings, like a bow and arrow, a surprisingly high voltage will come out of the pickup, in excess of 10 volts.
     
  11. xmd5a

    xmd5a Member

    Messages:
    917
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    An EMG has a response that's like a broad curve, and so while all pickups are filters to some extent, EMGs filter less than passive pickups, they lean more towards a piezo-like response. I can believe that they would better expose differences in how two guitars sound. An upside of a P-90, which filters out a lot of treble and transient, is that it homogenizes the tone of a guitar, making it more predictable.
     
  12. 83stratman

    83stratman Supporting Member

    Messages:
    4,145
    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2005
    It was a rhetorical "what?". LOL. Your response is nonsense.

     
  13. John Hurtt

    John Hurtt Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    17,627
    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    Location:
    Northern California
    Yep...and the Gilmour setup is super versatile and easy to drop in to a stock strat.
     
    big mike likes this.
  14. mixn4him

    mixn4him Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,485
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Had a production version of this guitar and it sounded great with EMG's. My Luke 2 does as well and is not going anywhere just love that guitar, hate I sold that ESP..
     
    sahhas likes this.
  15. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,630
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    Here, there and everywhere
    and i'm always kicking myself for selling my radiance red luke 2.
     
    mixn4him likes this.
  16. xmd5a

    xmd5a Member

    Messages:
    917
    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2014
    No it isn't, and I explained why.
     
  17. gunslinger

    gunslinger Member

    Messages:
    1,611
    Joined:
    Mar 28, 2010
    Location:
    Louis XVI ville, KY.
    They have nice distortion.
     
  18. mixn4him

    mixn4him Supporting Member

    Messages:
    1,485
    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Location:
    Charlotte
    Yea dumb lucked into this one ( <- ) and could not be happier. I really love the roasted necks on the Luke III's but just did not care for the Transistions and that preamp. This guitar sounds better and was WAY cheaper but would love one of those roasted necks...
     
    big mike likes this.
  19. big mike

    big mike Plexi Loving Admin Staff Member

    Messages:
    10,630
    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2003
    Location:
    Here, there and everywhere
    They'er really good. I got caught up in a gas fit.
     
  20. cheezit

    cheezit Member

    Messages:
    500
    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2008
    Location:
    Home of Hendrix
    I mean that one guitar naturally sounds different than another - brighter, darker, smoother attack, whatever. Put a good quality passive pickup in those two guitars and that difference is apparent. Put actives in and (in my experience) those differences are much less apparent, and instead you get a more neutral sound that has less of the personality of the instrument.

    I haven't used EMGs much but that's what I've heard. People in this thread have had the opposite experience, which is great for them.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.
    Dismiss Notice